Alongside our portfolio of B2C clients, we are increasingly working on and consulting for a number of emerging B2B businesses. The questions being asked by the owners and directors of these B2B businesses around the role, performance and measurement of content are becoming more frequent. While no two businesses are ever the same and it would be remiss to suggest a ‘template’ approach, there are some commonalities in the questions we are being asked and the recommendations we make. And so to invite conversation and hopefully some debate, here are our top 5 things you should think about when you’re considering “Content marketing”…
1. Ensure you have a clear objective
There must be a clear understanding of what you expect content to achieve for your organisation. It is not enough to say you are originating content – the business needs to understand for what reason and to what purpose. You’d be surprised how few businesses can succinctly answer that question.
2. It must be part of your overall marketing strategy
A content strategy can and should never be separate from any other kind of strategy – be that a PR, loyalty, acquisition or awareness strategy. A marketing strategy is what is required – with content a key part of it. And by the way, if it’s not written down – it’s not a strategy, it’s just an idea.
3. Less is always more
No content origination or distribution will simply maintain the status quo. A flood of content may denigrate relationships and engagement rather than improve them. Your audience is busy, really busy and challenged to keep up with their working weeks. Bite-sized, incisive content that is informative and topical will create far greater traction than verbose thought pieces that wax lyrical or lack audience relevance.
4. Substance is crucial
You should be using content to create a competitive advantage. Like any marketing commitment, the end result is about positioning your organisation most advantageously in the hearts and minds of your customers and prospects. The big buzz word of ‘storytelling’ needs to be interpreted at a simplistic level for a B2B audience – take them on a journey through words, pictures and video by all means, but never forget that answering why they need, how they use and what benefit they will derive from your product or service is what you need your content to deliver.
5. Make it a cultural shift; don’t just expect it to be a marketing add-on
A successful content strategy is nearly always delivered by creating an internal culture of content generation. Sales team members will instinctively know better than any outsourced marketer or writer what content customers and prospects need. They may not be best placed to originate the words themselves, but they do have a responsibility for helping originate the idea.
Unless the role of content is embraced throughout the organisation it won’t deliver either the awareness or sales you want, need or expect.
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